Obesity and Infertility: Jassira's Journey From Bariatric Surgery to Pregnancy
In an interview with MBL, a patient tells her story of battling obesity and infertility by overcoming complications from weight-loss surgeries and treatments.
Jassira had been together with her husband for 6-years without using birth control. At 340 pounds and unable to ovulate, is was not possible for her to conceive a baby naturally. Jassira yearned to be a mother. Her doctor said fertility treatments or weight loss were her only options.
In 2007 Jassira self-paid for the gastric Lap-Band to help restrict her food intake and reduce her weight. But as Jassira tells it, the procedure that was supposed to make her dreams of motherhood come true turned out to be a nightmare. Jassira tells her story:
In the 1.5 years I had the band I lost about 20 lbs and actually regained them and more.I was 320 when I had lapband surgery and was 349 the day I had my revision.The entire time I had the band no matter what I did I vomited almost daily.I had periods of weeks and months that I could only drink my calories as everything got stuck even on an empty band.I kept going for adjustments but it was just not working.The last straw came when I was at almost 2 months without being able to eat solids without vomiting and I went to a surgeon to revise my band.That surgeon pretty much blamed my failure on me and instead of taking fluid out of my band she added more and told me she would save my band even if it was the last thing she did.Following that appointment I was so tight I couldn’t even swallow my own saliva without it coming right back up.It was a nightmare.I had become surgically induced bulimic and certainly not by choice.
Distraught, Jassira turned to an online patient support community for help. A fellow weight-loss surgery patient urged her to contact Dr. Mitchell Roslin, the chief of obesity surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. Jassira sent him an email regarding her pain and he immediately phoned her to come to his office the following day. Dr. Roslin explained that the gastric band was not the right surgery for her.
I went in to see him and told him I wanted the band out.At this time he removed all the fluid from the band and I started my journey for a revision.
Jassira had her duodenal switch surgery on January 15, 2009. Thankfully she had a brilliant surgeon who saved her life when she went into cardiac arrest. Jassira recalls the experience.
My surgery lasted from around 4pm till past 11pm.I remember waking up screaming of pain and looking at the clock and it was after 1am.The nurses glanced over at me and immediately said “call her surgeon and the residents now.”All I remember was opening my eyes a few minutes later and being surrounded by doctors and seeing a mask coming down and they were mumbling.Then around 5am I woke up in my room and saw Dr. Roslin sitting by my bed.He told me he wanted to be there when I woke up and told me they had almost lost me the night before but assured me I would be ok.
Weight loss came quickly. Jassira dropped 80 pounds in just 6-months. And just two days before her 29th birthday, Jassira’s dreams of motherhood were realized. She was pregnant. But Jassira knew it was too soon after her surgery. She turned to the same online patient support community for help.
I was frantic and scared since I knew getting pregnant wasn’t healthy so early post-op. Instead of support I was accused of purposely getting pregnant and was even advised to have an abortion.I responded that wasn’t an option and then was accused of being irresponsible as I had a big chance of having a special needs child.I was petrified and once again emailed Dr. Roslin.
Dr. Roslin saved Jassira once again. He would take care of her.